The Nibelungenlied
By George Henry Needler, Translator

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Public Domain Books

Nineteenth Adventure - How the Nibelungen Hoard was Brought to Worms


When that the noble Kriemhild / thus did widowed stand,
Remained there with his warriors / by her in that land
Eckewart the margrave, / and served her ever true.
And he did help his mistress / oft to mourn his master too.


At Worms a house they built her / the minster high beside,
That was both rich and spacious, / full long and eke full wide,
Wherein with her attendants / joyless did she dwell.
She sought the minster gladly, / –that to do she loved full well.


Seldom undone she left it, / but thither went alway
In sorry mood where buried / her loved husband lay.
God begged she in his mercy / his soul in charge to keep,
And, to the thane right faithful, / for him full often did she weep.


Ute and her attendants / all times a comfort bore,
But yet her heart was stricken / and wounded all so sore
That no whit might avail it / what solace e’er they brought.
For lover taken from her / with such grief her heart was fraught,


As ne’er for spouse beloved / a wife did ever show.
Thereby how high in virtue / she stood ye well might know.
She mourned until her ending / and while did last her life.
Anon a mighty vengeance / wreaked the valiant Siegfried’s wife.


And so such load of sorrow / for her dead spouse she bore,
The story sayeth truly, / for years full three or more,
Nor ever unto Gunther / any word spake she,
And meantime eke her enemy / Hagen never might she see.


Then spake of Tronje Hagen: / “Now seek’st thou such an end,
That unto thee thy sister / be well-disposed friend?
Then Nibelungen treasure / let come to this country:
Thereof thou much might’st win thee, / might Kriemhild friendly-minded


He spake: “Be that our effort. / My brothers’ love hath she:
Them shall we beg to win her / that she our friend may be,
And that she gladly see it / that we do share her store."
“I trow it well,” spake Hagen, / “may such thing be nevermore.”


Then did he Ortwein / unto the court command
And the margrave Gere. / When both were found at hand,
Thither brought they Gernot / and eke young Giselher.
In friendly manner sought they / to win the Lady Kriemhild there.


Then spake of Burgundy / Gernot the warrior strong:
“Lady, the death of Siegfried / thou mournest all too long.
Well will the monarch prove thee / that him he ne’er hath slain.
’Tis heard how that right sorely / thou dost for him unending plain.”


She spake: “The king none chargeth: / t’was Hagen’s hand that slew.
When Hagen me did question / where might one pierce him through,
How might e’er thought come to me / that hate his heart did bear?
Then ’gainst such thing to guard me," / spake she, “had I ta’en good


“And kept me from betraying / to evil hands his life,
Nor cause of this my weeping / had I his poor lorn wife.
My heart shall hate forever / who this foul deed have done."
And further to entreat her / young Giselher had soon begun.


When that to greet the monarch / a willing mind spake she,
Him soon with noble kinsmen / before her might ye see.
Yet dare might never Hagen / unto her to go:
On her he’d wrought sore evil, / as well his guilty mind did know.


When she no hatred meted / unto Gunther as before,
By Hagen to be greeted / were fitting all the more.
Had but by his counsel / no ill to her been done,
So might he all undaunted / unto Kriemhild have gone.


Nor e’er was peace new offered / kindred friends among
Sealed with tears so many. / She brooded o’er her wrong.
To all she gave her friendship / save to one man alone.
Nor slain her spouse were ever, / were not the deed by Hagen done.


Small time it was thereafter / ere they did bring to pass
That with the Lady Kriemhild / the mighty treasure was,
That from Nibelungen country / she brought the Rhine unto.
It was her bridal portion / and ’twas fairly now her due.


For it did journey thither / Gernot and Giselher.
Warriors eighty hundred / Kriemhild commanded there
That they should go and fetch it / where hidden it did lie,
And where the good thane Alberich / with friends did guard it faithfully.


When saw they coming warriors / from Rhine the hoard to take,
Alberich the full valiant / to his friends in this wise spake:
“We dare not of the treasure / aught from them withhold:
It is her bridal portion, / –thus the noble queen hath told.


“Yet had we never granted," / spake Alberich, “this to do,
But that in evil manner / the sightless mantle too
With the doughty Siegfried / we alike did lose,
The which did wear at all times / the fair Kriemhild’s noble spouse.


“Now alas hath Siegfried / had but evil gain
That from us the sightless mantle / the hero thus hath ta’en,
And so hath forced to serve him / all these lands around."
Then went forth the porter / where full soon the keys he found.


There stood before the mountain / ready Kriemhild’s men,
And her kinsmen with them. / The treasure bore they then
Down unto the water / where the ships they sought:
To where the Rhine flowed downward / across the waves the hoard they


Now of the treasure further / may ye a wonder hear:
Heavy wains a dozen / scarce the same might bear
In four days and nights together / from the mountain all away,
E’en did each one of them / thrice the journey make each day.


In it was nothing other / than gold and jewels rare.
And if to every mortal / on earth were dealt a share,
Ne’er ’twould make the treasure / by one mark the less.
Not without good reason / forsooth would Hagen it possess.


The wish-rod lay among them, / of gold a little wand.
Whosoe’er its powers / full might understand,
The same might make him master / o’er all the race of men.
Of Alberich’s kin full many / with Gernot returned again.


When they did store the treasure / in King Gunther’s land,
And to royal Kriemhild / ’twas given ’neath her hand,
Storing-rooms and towers / could scarce the measure hold.
Nevermore such wonder / might of wealth again be told.


And had it e’en been greater, / yea a thousandfold,
If but again might Kriemhild / safe her Siegfried hold,
Fain were she empty-handed / of all the boundless store.
Spouse than she more faithful / won a hero nevermore.


When now she had the treasure, / she brought into that land
Knights many from far distance. / Yea, dealt the lady’s hand
So freely that such bounty / ne’er before was seen.
High in honor held they / for her goodly heart the queen.


Unto both rich and needy / began she so to give
That fearful soon grew Hagen, / if that she would live
Long time in such high power, / lest she of warriors true
Such host might win to serve her, / that cause would be her strength to


Spake Gunther then: / “The treasure is hers and freedom too.
Wherefore shall I prevent her, / whate’er therewith she do?
Yea, nigh she did her friendship / from me evermore withhold.
Now reck we not who shareth / or her silver or her gold.”


Unto the king spake Hagen: / “No man that boasteth wit
Should to any woman / such hoard to hold permit.
By gifts she yet will bring it / that will come the day
When valiant men of Burgundy / rue it with good reason may.”


Then spake the monarch Gunther: / “To her an oath I swore,
That I would cause of evil / to her be nevermore,
Whereof henceforth I’ll mind me: / sister she is to me."
Then spake further Hagen: / “Let me bear the guilt for thee.”


Many they were that kept not / there their plighted word:
From the widow took they / all that mighty hoard:
Every key had Hagen / known to get in hand.
Rage filled her brother Gernot / when he the thing did understand.


Then spake the knight Giselher: / “Hagen here hath wrought
Sore evil to my sister: / permit this thing I’ll not.
And were he not my kinsman, / he’d pay it with his life."
Anew did fall aweeping / then the doughty Siegfried’s wife.


Then spake the knight Gernot: / “Ere that forever we
Be troubled with this treasure, / let first commanded be
Deep in the Rhine to sink it, / that no man have it more."
In sad manner plaining / Kriemhild stood Giselher before.


She spake: “Beloved brother, / be mindful thou of me:
What life and treasure toucheth / shalt thou my protector be."
Then spake he to the lady: / “That shall sure betide,
When we again come hither: / now called we are away to ride.”


The monarch and his kinsmen / rode from out the land,
And in his train the bravest / ye saw on any hand:
Went all save Hagen only, / and there he stayed for hate,
That he did bear to Kriemhild, / and full gladly did he that.


Ere that the mighty monarch / was thither come again,
In that while had Hagen / all that treasure ta’en.
Where Loch is by the river / all in the Rhine sank he.
He weened thereof to profit, / yet such thing might never be.


The royal knights came thither / again with many a man.
Kriemhild with her maidens / and ladies then began
To mourn the wrong they suffered, / that pity was to hear.
Fain had the faithful Giselher / been unto her a comforter.


Then spake they all together: / “Done hath he grievous wrong."
But he the princes’ anger / avoided yet so long
At last to win their favor. / They let him live sans scathe.
Then filled thereat was Kriemhild / as ne’er before with mickle wrath.


Ere that of Tronje Hagen / had hidden thus the hoard,
Had they unto each other / given firm plighted word,
That it should lie concealed / while one of them might live.
Thereof anon nor could they / to themselves nor unto other give.


With renewed sorrows / heavy she was of heart
That so her dear-loved husband / perforce from life must part,
And that of wealth they reft her. / Therefor she mourned alway,
Nor ever ceased her plaining / until was come her latest day.


After the death of Siegfried / dwelt she in sorrow then,
–Saith the tale all truly– / full three years and ten,
Nor in that time did ever / for the knight mourn aught the less.
To him she was right faithful, / must all the folk of her confess.


Preface  •  I. The Nibelungen Saga  •  II. The Nibelungenlied  •  The Nibelungenlied - First Adventure - Kriemhild’s Dream  •  Second Adventure - Siegfried  •  Third Adventure - How Siegfried came to Worms  •  Fourth Adventure - How Siegfried fought with the Saxons  •  Fifth Adventure - How Siegfried first saw Kriemhild  •  Sixth Adventure - How Gunther fared to Isenland to Brunhild  •  Seventh Adventure - How Gunther won Brunhild  •  Eighth Adventure - How Siegfried fared to his Knights, the Nibelungen  •  Ninth Adventure - How Siegfried was sent to Worms  •  Tenth Adventure - How Brunhild was received at Worms  •  Eleventh Adventure - How Siegfried came home with his Wife  •  Twelfth Adventure - How Gunther bade Siegfried to the Feast  •  Thirteenth Adventure - How they fared to the Feast  •  Fourteenth Adventure - How the Queens Berated Each Other  •  Fifteenth Adventure - How Siegfried was Betrayed  •  Sixteenth Adventure - How Siegfried was slain  •  Seventeenth Adventure - How Kriemhild mourned for Siegfried, and How he was Buried  •  Eighteenth Adventure - How Siegmund fared Home Again  •  Nineteenth Adventure - How the Nibelungen Hoard was Brought to Worms  •  Twentieth Adventure - How King Etzel sent to Burgundy for Kriemhild  •  Twenty-First Adventure - How Kriemhild fared to the Huns  •  Twenty-Second Adventure - How Etzel kept the Wedding-feast with Kriemhild  •  Twenty-Third Adventure - How Kriemhild thought to avenge her Wrong  •  Twenty-Fourth Adventure - How Werbel and Schwemmel brought the Message  •  Twenty-Fifth Adventure - How the Knights all fared to the Huns  •  Twenty-Sixth Adventure - How Gelfrat was Slain by Dankwart  •  Twenty-Seventh Adventure - How they came to Bechelaren  •  Twenty-Eighth Adventure - How the Burgundians came to Etzel’s Castle  •  Twenty-Ninth Adventure - How He arose not before Her  •  Thirtieth Adventure - How they kept Guard  •  Thirty-First Adventure - How they went to Mass  •  Thirty-Second Adventure - How Bloedel was Slain  •  Thirty-Third Adventure - How the Burgundians fought with the Huns  •  Thirty-Fourth Adventure - How they cast out the Dead  •  Thirty-Fifth Adventure - How Iring was Slain  •  Thirty-Sixth Adventure - How the Queen bade set fire to the Hall  •  Thirty-Seventh Adventure - How the Margrave Ruediger was Slain  •  Thirty-Eighth Adventure - How all Sir Dietrich’s Knights were Slain  •  Thirty-Ninth Adventure - How Gunther and Hagen and Kriemhild were Slain